Kentucky woman enters new career after boating accident

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – Last September, WKYT’s Amber Philpott brought you the story of a Russell Springs woman who survived a horrific boating accident on Lake Cumberland over Labor Day weekend.

María Fuentes was saved thanks to a mysterious kayaker she met.

In the last year, Fuentes has had to overcome the loss of a leg, but he has also set out to take another step forward and use a terrible accident to pursue the dream of helping others.

At 32, Fuentes is back in the classroom. The mother of three children works during the day and attends Somerset Community College at night.

To her instructors, Fuentes is a model student.

“Maria comes in every day with a smile on her face, a lot of energy,” said Tamara Eastham, associate professor.

In January, Fuentes enrolled in nursing school just four months after we met her and shared her heartbreaking story of losing a leg while boating with friends on Lake Cumberland.

Since then, a lot has changed for Fuentes.

“Mentally I am also in a good place. I feel like back then, I had a lot of support, but there were still a lot of things I wasn’t sure about,” Fuentes said.

Fuentes was determined not to let what happened to her stop her.

He was able to get a prosthesis just before the new year and it was a game changer to get back to a more normal life.

“I was so excited the first time I was able to wear heels, it just helped my self-esteem just being able to wear heels and feel pretty,” Fuentes said.

Life in those first days after the accident seemed unsteady, but Fuentes set out to learn to walk again. He went back to doing the things he loved, like aerial silks, working out, and traveling.

Each new step was an exciting advance.

“Every little baby step I take is a huge accomplishment for me,” Fuentes said.

Fuentes made a list of things that she and her new leg would tackle and little by little she has been crossing them off. She has returned to the lake, she has not gone out in the water, but she has made peace with what happened.

And perhaps the most significant moment, he met his hero, the man from Ohio who saved his life.

“Just the fact that I was able to see him and personally thank him for everything he did that day, it was amazing and we actually still keep in touch,” Fuentes said.

For Fuentes, going to college was something she was ready to get started on. Her accident left her with a new appreciation of what her profession entails.

“After the accident I wanted to get closer to others, and what better way than to be a nurse and be able to help other people who may be in a similar situation,” said Fuentes.

Her instructors see her determination on a daily basis and are well aware of the type of nurse she can be.

“When he had the accident he told God that if he survived and could help just one person, it would be worth the trauma, and I’m sure it’s going to reach more than one person,” Eastham said. .

Because for Fuentes, being a nurse means using her own story and walking a difficult path to one day inspire those she loves.

“Things happen and I know everyone faces different situations, but we have to keep going, even if we take it one day at a time,” Fuentes said.

Maria is in good company when it comes to nursing students. Her program at Somerset Community College was just named number one in Kentucky by NursingProcess.org.

Maria is still raising money to help pay for her prosthetic leg. She got help through insurance, but she also has to pay out of pocket. If she wishes to help donate she can send donations to:

Venmo @ mfuentes9

Paypal-mfuentes9@outlook.com

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